Thanks again for tuning into the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail blog! Yesterday I had the pleasure of working with Gary Klatt, Zach Kastern and Jared Urban girdling aspen on a hillside prairie on the southwestern slope of Bald Bluff. This area is part of the Kettle Moraine Oak Opening, one of the few remaining examples of what was the predominant plant community in pre-settlement days. The best part of the day was that they let me rant on and on, suffering my righteous indignation at the way the world is working, with patient, good humor, or, maybe they were just laughing at me.
Jared, Zach and Gary.
Zach has been doing a lot of volunteer work in this area in the past year, flowering into a bonafide naturalist. He has adopted the place as his own and gained intimate knowledge of the flora and fauna. We couldn’t hope for a better steward to step forward and take care of this land!
Gary Klatt is a retired Math Professor at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. He is a former director of the Ice Age Trail Alliance, and his contributions have even been recognized by The President. Here is Gary working on one of the many bridges he has helped design and build along the IAT.
He was awarded the “Spirit Stick” in 2010.
Gary says, “I’ve come up with a philosophy: Be kind always, and be useful when you can,”. Check out this homage to Gary in the Winter 2010 issue of Mammoth Tales on page 5.
It was drizzling when we began working and the brush was very wet, but our cheery banter soon banished the clouds and we all began peeling off layers.
The top of Bald Bluff has grown over with oaks since the days that Black Hawk and the Sauk tribes made it their home.
Afterwards, Jared invited us to Paint Brush Prairie, a rare, first-rate, remnant prairie and it was amazing to listen to Zach and Jared calling out one plant after another. We parked along Lowland Drive and crossed a farmer’s field on a DNR easement to arrive at the prairie, which is just west of the Rushing Waters Trout Farm complex on the google map below.
Listen to Jared describe the prairie.
I remembered a few names of the many plants they identified, but not this one.
I appreciated the opportunity to spend time and learn with Jared, Zach and Gary and look forward to the next Kettle Moraine Oak Opening workday.
See you at The Springs!